windermere panoramic
Kendal Holy Trinity Church, Kendal
Kirkland
Cumbria LA9

 
 
Holy Trinity is the Parish Church of Kendal Town and the largest in Cumbria – it is 140 feet (42.7 metres) long and 103 feet (31.4 metres) wide.  Its unusual five-aisled configuration is evidence of its age and history.  The middle aisle is the old nave built in 1201.
 
Subsequent aisles were added on each side as the fortunes of Kendal changed.  The present church is just three feet (one metre) narrower than mighty York Minster!
 
Visitors will note the extraordinary number of chantry chapels and the abundance of monuments.  There is a lot of fine 19th century stained glass, a modern tapestry and a modern sculpture.
 
Holy Trinity has a superb, easy-to-use website (see 'Contact & Further Information below). We thoroughly recommend clicking on ‘’The Tour’ to discover this fascinating church.  You will be rewarded with a concise history illustrated with relevant images.
 
There is so much to enjoy so we have picked just a couple of special and unique features to mention.
 
The Strickland Chapel
The chapel was built in the 13th century by the Strickland family of Sizergh Castle.  The family coat of arms with three cockle shells can be seen on an old tomb, in the window and above the door.  The wooden screen is 15th century and there is a 17th century Bible Box.
 
Under a raised canopy of marble is the figure of a little boy.  Around the base is a chevron ornament with the initials 'W.S.,1656' (Walter Strickland, son of Thomas, died aged 9).  This is a most affecting monument.
 
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The Parr Chapel
Dating from the 14th century the chapel was erected by the Parr Family who inhabited Kendal Castle in the first part of that century. Their Family Arms are carved into the ceiling, and part of the shaft of an Anglican Cross dated at approximately 850 AD stands on one of the windowsills.
 
The unique features in this chapel are the carved and painted ‘maiden’ heads over the apices of the windows.  Almost naïve in design the ‘maiden’ was the personal badge of Lady Katherine Parr who became the sixth and last wife of King Henry VIII.  Henry included the ‘maiden’ in the personal coat of arms he designed for Katherine.
 
The unpolished black marble tomb is believed to be that of Sir William Parr, Katherine’s grandfather.
 
‘The Family of Man’
This beautiful sculpture by Josefina de Vasconcellos is usually located at the end of the 156th century North Aisle near the East window.  The setting is a contemporary Refugee Camp in the Middle East. Huddled together, under an old blanket are Mary, Jesus and three children representing the African, European and Oriental peoples of the world. Although it has the appearance of stone the sculpture is made of fibreglass and is sometimes moved elsewhere in the church.
 
Ring O'Bells Inn sign
The Ring O’Bells Inn still stands next to the church but its1816 sign has been preserved in the church because it tells us a lot about the church’s tower and belfry.  It can be found hanging on the wall of the North Aisle.
 
Ten ringers appear to be standing in their original bell loft, a jug of brewed ale between their feet. The floor seems to be level with the sill of the West window at a height of 15 feet from the ground. A doorway - cut out from the stairs now used to reach the higher room - is still left in its old place, its well-worn stone threshold reminding us of old Kendal ringers. The ringers’ names are listed on the sign.
 
The Tower
The tower was built in the 13th century but it had to be rebuilt in 1661 when it was raised to its present height of 80 feet (24 metres).  There is a peal of twelve bells, the oldest dating from at least 1537.
 
The Nave
Built at the beginning of the 13th century the Nave is the oldest part of the church and essentially unchanged.  The Mayor’s Pew at the front of the nave on the left bears the Kendal Coat of Arms.  Notice two quarters of the shield feature wool hooks (tenterhooks).  The metal framework holds the ceremonial sword and maces during Civic Services.  Up until the late 19th century the Mayor and Aldermen attended Sunday Morning Prayers in full regalia.  The pew was known as the ‘Alderman’s Quire’.
 
Opening Hours
This fascinating church is open every day and information leaflets can be found in the Bookshops near the porch door.
 
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Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1539 721 248  
 
Getting There
The church is conspicuous by the river at the south end of the town and lies at the southern end of a double loop of one-way streets. There is a large church car park (metered).
 
The Church website (above) has a map at 'Contact Us'
 
Google Map - Holy Trinity Church, Kendal